By Naomi Sakr
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Extra info for ARAB MEDIA AND POLITICAL RENEWAL Community, Legitimacy and Public Life
For example, many Arab media have in the past used the same Arabic word for Palestinian suicide bombers in Israel as for the victims of violent conflicts, namely shahid (singular) or shuhada (plural). The word derives from the verb ‘to witness’ and also means ‘passed away’, but it is often translated as ‘martyr’, a term that is understood in the West as taking sides with the Palestinian cause. By the same token, some Western news outlets use euphemisms adopted by military forces when referring to the Arab–Israeli conflict.
The slogan ‘Keep walking’ from a television advertisement for Johnny Walker whisky was used on a placard, on which the map of Lebanon was drawn, with the Syrian map to its right blacked out and an arrow pointing in the direction of Syria, signalling to Syrian troops to withdraw from Lebanon. An advertisement for the fabric detergent Persil was used for the same purpose. A placard carrying the picture of what looked like a box of Persil declared ‘1559 removes them from the Beqaa, all the Beqaa’.
47 In the structural transformation of the global media landscape, brought about through the communication of crises on the global mass media market, one can also observe an aesthetic of dramatisation on Western and Arab screens. As a consequence of the global competition, television aesthetics are characterised by a normative approach to reporting that takes place under extreme pressure of topicality. 48 An obvious example lies in a comparison of coverage of the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 with coverage of the 12 years of UN sanctions on Iraq that preceded it.